Some of the smells of July are not easy to describe, but I caught a whiff the other day that reminded me of something from my childhood.
It wasn’t necessarily the best thing that ever tickled my nostrils, but regardless, it brought back memories of a string full of fish caught with my grandmother in the pond from old Carl Cline’s farm near Rimertown.
I probably haven’t smelled that particular aroma of sea bass and sea bream ready to fry in years, if not decades. I’ve fished a lot since then, but not much in the farm ponds because you have to know someone who has one or be one of the lucky few who have theirs.
That’s not to say I haven’t been blessed with many incredible fishing adventures over the years – from speckled trout fishing in Vermont to casting for spotted bass around Charleston, Carolina. from the South, with an old Post member of staff who ended up there – but nothing compares to those early fishing trips as a boy.
I always thought the richest man in the world was probably someone who could go fishing whenever he wanted because even some of these tech billionaires probably have responsibilities that keep them from sneaking in the lane to wet a hook whenever they want. .
I’m not sure what inspired my memories of such smells, but it was so strong it felt like yesterday when I enjoyed carefree summer days with my Grandma Connie while my grandma -father went to the sale of cattle not far on the road in Rimertown. I’ve always enjoyed the adventure of fishing better, but if I had to go and see how much heifers were selling for (“They don’t bring anything” was usually my grandfather’s view of prices at the auction), my favorite part was the hot dog lunch in the little restaurant building just behind the main barn.
I doubt I’ll ever enjoy a hot dog and a cold drink more than that, though the taste of another frozen drink I first tasted as a teenager might be right behind it. Nothing tastes quite like that first crackle of such a cold drink that I’ll just call Southern Comfort, which I’d tell my mom we called Cheerwine if she asked. It wasn’t exactly what we drank iced, but if my mom is looking down from above and reading the columns I have in the Post, I don’t want her blaming me for leaving such a something to touch my lips since she certainly wouldn’t approve.
Having tasted a number of cold drinks since, I have come to realize that nothing compares to the first sip and the taste is something that cannot be repeated, perhaps like a first kiss. Looking back, I remember the taste of that first cold drink more than a first kiss anyway. You wonder what that says about me?
I think it may be because all the other things I’ve tasted over the years have contributed to dulling the senses. Maybe that comes with age and that’s what inspires us to try new things just in case something else pops up that matches some of those early tastes that delighted the senses.
July also has sights – like the 4th of July fireworks – and unique sounds. Have you ever listened to the song of the July fly as my father called the cicadas?
It sings so loudly in the summer it can cause teeth to chatter and is a harbinger of all things hot.
But back to that smell of fresh fish that caused it all. It was nothing wrong, I can assure you. And nowhere near as unpleasant as walking inside and sniffing around that lets you know right away that a dog left behind something that’s not what you want to find out – and knowing that it will need to be cleaned up quickly before the whole house smells worse than all the remaining fish parts ever could.
Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.